Everything has a breaking point, no matter how strong it is. This is even true of concrete, granite, and steel. It’s also true of your bones. Joints under heavy pressure, like your ankles, have some of the highest risk for breaking. Recovering from a broken ankle takes time and can have some serious complications if you don’t take care of it right away.
The Breaking Point
Multiple bones make up your ankle—the two lower leg bones and the talus, which the leg bones sit on. Together they allow your foot to flex and point up and down. The talus sits on top of your heel bone and allows for slight side-to-side movement as well. Altogether, this makes up your ankle joint. Any of these three bones can be fractured when you break your ankle.
Usually this happens sharply and suddenly. You might trip and twist your ankle, or land hard from a fall. Sometimes even a simple misstep can be enough to crack bone tissue. Dropping something heavy on their lower limbs or getting crushed in a car accident are other common ways people sustain this injury. Once the bone is broken, you experience sharp, intense pain. The area around the fracture swells and often bruises, too. You may or may not be able to walk.
Treating a Break
Broken ankles are, as you might imagine, serious injuries. Failing to take care of an ankle fracture right away could potentially allow for serious, chronic side-effects, including a higher risk for deformities and arthritis. Our experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will use x-rays to identify the break and how serious it is. Then we can begin treatment.
Your ankle will have to be immobilized in a cast or special boot of some kind to allow the bones to heal back together. However, the broken ends of the bones also have to be properly aligned. If they are not, they may not heal correctly, creating a deformity in your ankle that could limit your movement. Bones that are not aligned will have to be manipulated back into place before your joint is casted to make sure you heal. This can be done conservatively, but more serious breaks may require surgery.
During the period of immobilization, you won’t be able to put weight on the affected ankle. You may need to keep your foot elevated and take steps to lower inflammation and swelling as well. We may recommend medications to help alleviate the pain, too.
Rehabilitation and Recovery
Once the bones have healed sufficiently, you’ll need to rehabilitate your ankle to make sure it is strong enough to support you. This usually involves physical therapy to restore range of motion, flexibility, and strength. Our expert physical therapy team at Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy can help you through this vital stage of your recovery. Depending on the severity of the original injury, and your natural fitness, your complete recovery may take a while. This is especially true if you’re trying to get back into sports of any kind.
A broken ankle is a serious injury that needs prompt treatment. Failing to do so can have major, and potentially life-long, consequences. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will help you take care of a fracture every step of the way. Make an appointment with the team at our Castle Pines, Parker, and Cherry Creek, CO, office locations right away. Call us directly at (303) 805-5156, or use our online contact forms to request more information.